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tv   News4 Today  NBC  November 23, 2014 10:00am-10:31am EST

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he was very strong. he was upbeat and he was in good spirits, and is a total shock for all of us. >> former d.c. mayor marion barry's death, a shock. the ward 8 council member is being remembered as a political rock star, legend and mayor for life. >> but along with that huge political success, many personal failures marked his turbulent life. we've been following the breaking news all morning long. we have live team coverage. >> we have news 4's derrick ward at union temp baptist church and tom sherwood in studio. >> we want to begin with megan mcgrath live at united medical center in southeast where barry
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passed away overnight. good morning, megan. >> good morning. marion barry has been struggling with his health for a while now. he's been in and out of the hospital. he was just released from howard university hospital saturday evening. those who spoke to him last night say he seemed good, that his spirits were good. there were no red flags, that his death was imminent. a little after midnight, marion barry collapsed in front of his home and pronounced dead about an hour and a half later. >> it's shocking because i spoke with mr. barry on the phone eight or nine hours ago. he said i'm feeling fantabulous. >> friends and family gathered at the united medical center in southeast overnight. marion barry's wife, cora wiped away tears at the pre dawn press conference where the official announcement was made. >> this morning at 12:15 councilman marion barry was brought here to united medical
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center, and we are certainly sad to report and announce the passing of the honorable marion s. barry. >> reporter: barry has been struggling with his health in recent years. in fact, he was just released from howard university hospital saturday evening. those who spoke with him say -- >> the last conversations we all had with mayor barry, he was very strong, he was upbeat and in good spirits. >> after being discharged from howard, barry visited his son and later stopped for a bite to eat. barry collapsed as he made his way from the car to his home. he was taken by ambulance to united medical center where he later died. >> it's a great loss. everybody is grieving today. we're all hurting. everybody to wake up and look at the news, the first thing they hear is maybe is all over the tv. like this morning, i seen it at 4:00, all i could do was sit on the side of my bed and just cry. >> reporter: there's no word yet on the funeral arrangements. we're expecting to learn more about that in the coming hours
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and days. reporting live from united medical center, megan mcgrath, news 4. >> we continue with news 4's derrick ward. >> live at union temple ban tift church where they plan to continue a thanksgiving tradition near to bury's heart. good morning, derrick. >> reporter: indee it was. barry was near and dear to the hearts of a lot of people here. people are coming by with their personal stories about marion barry. one man we just talked to said he had to come from maryland to this area where he remembers talking to barry and being with him, where he made one of his many political comebacks. take a look at the ceremony going on inside union temple. reverend willy wilson who was with barry and his family at the time of his death started out the early morning service this morning with libations, pouring of libations, an african tradition for the home going or the passage as it's often referred to. we started to talk to people as
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they were coming in and out of the church and the news was filtering, he was a public figure, but everyone had their personal remembrances. >> i just can remember back in pride i got my first summer job, despite what anybody go through, he was a good person, he help many a people. >> it's going to be hard to try to find somebody, as they say, fit his shoes, fit his shoes. he was a great man. >> fill his shoes, you know, more than one person has used that term to talk about what's next. there's a political vacuum left by his loss. there will obviously be jockeying on the city council. again, that's a few days off. right now it's all about remembrances and bs, again, the tradition of the thanksgiving turkey giveaway with will go on on tuesday. with a new sense behind it with the loss of the man behind it for all of these years. we are live in anacostia, derrick ward, news 4. >> i'm sure that event, tom, is going to be very, very popular
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this coming tuesday. >> i was there last year talking with barry. barry came up and people had been standing in the rain and cold to get inside to get a turkey. this year they're plan a much stronger distribution of food, not just kur keys. it will be much better this year. we have on the fon with us right now our anchor, jim vant, who has kwn barry far longer than i have. >> i don't know that it's far longer. all the time that i have been in this town i have known of a guy named marion barry. ly not forget when i first came to town, one of my first assignments was to go down to some place -- i can't remember what it was called, it was on 16th street downtown. and there was a huge demonstration down there, and there were people -- i think the
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declaration was no white man's road -- >> that was the fight to keep the freeways out. >> and i remember they were going to build across the river from virginia into the district. and it would go through some of the most iconic neighborhoods that exist now in the city. anyway, there was a guy standing there with a da chic ki on, very handsome, great deal of self precedence and his articulation was utterly brilliant. it was southern as yu can rhee late to, it was utd the early brilliant, the things he had to say. i remember thinking to myself who is this guy. that was in about august of 1969 or something like that. been following marion ever since then. tom, when i heard this morning
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when i got up that marion died. two things occurred right away, one is sadness, a sadness for him and also for the city, because the city will never, ever see his likes again. there are people who phaps will celebrate that but others will truly lament it. the other feeling that came to mind was this man was in fact consequential. and i think you would agree with that. he created a pathway to the middle class as far as i can determine for an awful lot of people in this town. he put people to work. he put people in homes. uthe p people in the polls, if you remember. there are an awful lot of people never even thought about voting before until marion barry came along. gave them hope. >> yes, got the businesses to give him money and he got the
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labor unions to endorse him, too. he worked across the entire city. >> you know what? that's an interesting point, tom. i remember in marion's first couple of elections, i saw him in different forms. i would see him on good hope road before a group of people, and i would see him on connecticut avenue, upper connecticut avenue with a totally different group of people. his message was the same. he didn't change up for whatever group he was addressing. his message was the same in both. another interesting thing about him, there was no middle ground now or then on marion. people either loved him or hated him. >> let me ask you about the night that he was arrested. it was the first time i had actually been live on television for channel 4 because i was so
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new to the station then. out at his house, my memory is correct, you went out there that night and spoke briefly to him. is that correct? do i remember that correctly? >> i do remember that very correctly. it was a very difficult moment. he called the station as a matter of fact and asked if i would come over, and there was some considerable debate among station management about whether or not that was a good idea. i never had a second thought about it. of course i would, and i did. what was interesting to me, marion asked me to come to his house on that -- it was an awful night for him and his family. >> and christopher. >> he asked me to come because he wanted to know about treatment facilities. he knew -- it was clear at that time that he needed he. he knew because we had talked about it, that had been to treatment for drug abuse, and he
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wanted to know what my experience was where i had been and what my counsel might be on what may be the best option for him. a lot of other folks thought -- i'm not sure what they thought. there was an emotional boom or whatever that marion and i had gotten high together. the fact is i had never seen him socially in all the years since i had come to this town. the request overnight, my counsel in terms of how he could best help himself out of this terrible hole he had dug himself into. >> thank you very much, jim, for joining us this morning. it's really important to see your perspective on a man that had so much impact on the district of columbia and politics in general. >> like i said, it certainly
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consequential, that pour buy from whatever town in mississippi made quite, quite a difference. we will miss him, tom. >> that's some perspective that you're not going to get anywhere else. that's incredible stuff right there and real insight into -- people talk -- all morning long we've been talking about the good and the bad. there's a good insight into one of the most painful moments for the former mayor. >> i don't know if we have enough time. some of us, jim vance particularly and me and others, we would fuss at barry. i can't tell all the stories of how many times i fuss at him. why do you get yourself in so to do so many things and you undermine yourself. such an issue with discipline. jim vance put it very well. he had an incredible impact on the city. >> we'll continue following the death and the impact of former d.c. mayor marion barry. our live team coverage all morning long. morning long. >> don't forget you can go to
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continuing our coverage of the death of former d.c. mayor marion barry. mayor your vincent gray saying he loved the district of columbia and so many washingtonians loved him. more reactions continue to come in. joining us now to give us more insight is jack evans, a council member from ward 2. jack, thank you so much for joining us this morning. >> glad to be here. thank you so much. >> we just want right off the bat to get your initial thoughts on the passing of marion barry. a politician who is really considered one of the most influential and savvy that washington has ever seen. >> indeed he is. indeed he was. marion barry is someone i've known for over 30 years. he's in the office next to me. we have served together on the council and when he was mayor, and worked really, really well
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together. the thing about marion was how much he really, really cared for people in need. that i think is what everybody will remember him for, his caring, ability to get things done and real compassion for the city. he loved washington, and in many respekds, he turned washington from the sleepy town it was in 1978 to where we are today, where the convention center, verizon state center, all these projects that changed the face of our city. >> mr. council member, it's tom sherwood. thank you for joining us. he played the role, voted for the baseball team to build the stadium and the ball park. that was important. even recently he's been a factor and a vote for you on the council to try to get the soccer deal done. would this have any impact on the soccer deal going forward before the first of the year? >> he's the vote we were counting on.
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he's not there now, but i think we'll get the deal done. current mayor vince gray to get it done. >> you're the finance and revenue chairman. how many years have you been there? used to be charge of judiciary. how long have you been the financial revenue chairman? >> since 2001. 14 years now. >> barry, even if you talked to him this past week, he was aware, knowing the details of the budget and how to put things together. >> he certainly did. he was the very first finance chair of the council in 1975 when we first got an elected government. so he and i have sent countless hours talking about finances. that was his hallmark. he knew where everything was. >> let me ask you, we're getting some tweets. some people are very upset that we're saying anything nice about barry because of his personal life and the things that went wrong and the contracts he gave to some people. what would you say to the people
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who are, what he would call the barry haters? you saw all sides of him as a council member. >> i would point one thing out to everyone who is saying those things. marion barry never made a dime off this government. he may have made mistakes, he did. certain flaws in his character as we all do. at the end of the day, marion barry really worked hard on behalf of people in the city who are in need. he was a very bright and a person who brought a lot to the table. i thoroughly enjoyed -- i just have to say it's such a loss, but i used to come in to work and marvel. the man was elected mayor in 1978, the day after i moved to washington. it was like walking in and seeing abraham lincoln sometimes. he was a historical figure. he's still here, oh, my god. >> you have plenty of pictures on your wall of him, too, even though he was right next door to you. thank you very much for joining
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us, council member jack evans from ward 2, chairman of the finance and revenue committee. >> so many people saying they are saddened by the news, at the same time so glad they were able to see everything he's done for the people in d.c. we'll continue to follow this breaking news of marion barry's death.
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continuing to follow the breaking news this morning, former d.c. mayor and political legend marion barry has died. >> he was 78 years old and is survived by his wife and son. right now so many of you, his family, friends and co-workers are all finding a way to remember him. >> joining us on the phone right now, d.c. mayor elect muriel bowser. good morning. >> good morning, adam and angie. >> thanks for joining us. we've been asking everybody for their initial reaction. i know you were there at the hospital this morning. it has to be a bit of a different feeling for you. >> well, i was quite surprised. i had talked to marion earlier in the day when he was being released from the hospital. his energy was very good and he was very upbeat. he was calling me with advice and questions and telling me things to do. so it was like most
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conversations i've had with him in recent days. i got a call during the night from one of his staff that i should get to the hospital, and i did. >> mayor elect bowser, this is tom sherwood. sorry to have to talk with you on this subject. he has been ill. even though his mind has been sharp, his body has been weak. he struggled a lot. he was there on a terrific night november 4th when you won the general election to be the city's next mayor. at one point he had to sit down because he wasn't feeling that well. but you lifted his hand up. you've acknowledged his work by having people like carol thompson cole be on your transition committee. a lot of people in the city across the board. what will it mean for the city? he wanted a lot of things done, returning citizens, more work there. he wanted to get a new office building in ward 8. how can we best remember him now
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going forward? >> well, i think we have to remember -- marion was the mayor ofhis town for 16 years. he built a lot of relationships and he did a lot of good things. he put a lot of good people in place. i heard your conversation with jack a little earlier. he had significant personal problems, but his love for this city can never be questioned. i think what marion taught a lot of us is to fight for the people who are not really enjoying the progress of the city, making sure we never forget them and that government has a responsibility to close those gaps and make sure we can continue to grow a city or everybody. >> you vowed when you become mayor to have a deputy mayor specifically for the part of the east end of the city. >> i will. will have a deputy mayor focused
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on closing gaps and creating more opportunity in our city. marion and i had the opportunity, of course, to talk about how we could shape that initiative to make sure it's successful. he was very focused on the type of people who should lead our agency and the things that will be most impactful. >> thank you, we're out of
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good morning. temperatures 30s and 40s. will be into the middle 50s today. rain tonight, breezy and warm tomorrow. cooling back down tuesday. could face a rain-snow mix on the big travel day on wednesday. cold for thanksgiving. >> thanks, chuck. thank you for joining us for this special coverage of the passing of former mayor your marion barry. we'll have more on this breaking story on nbcwashington.com and of course on news 4 at 6:00 with chris lawrence. cocoa or eggnog? toasty or frosty? exactly the way you want it... until boom, it's bedtime! your mattress is a battleground of thwarted desire. enter the sleep number bed. don't miss the ultimate sleep number week going on now. he's the softy. his sleep number setting is 35. you're the rock, at 60. silent night not so silent? sleep number's even got an adjustment for that. give the gift of amazing sleep, only at a sleep number store.
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